Michael Jordan didn’t have much success on the court when he owned the Charlotte Hornets. Financially, it can be a huge win.
Jordan acquired 65 percent of the Hornets from Robert Johnson in 2010 for $280 million after becoming a minority investor and team president in 2006.
In 2019, Jordan sold part of the team to Gabe Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim, who valued the Hornets at $1.5 billion. That’s a fivefold increase in team value in nine years.
Jordan is now considering selling a controlling, majority interest in the team to a group that includes Plotkin, Sundheim and Rick Schnall, a member of the Atlanta Hawks ownership group. All three men work in private equity, but Plotkin closed his Melvin Capital firm last year after significant losses, including GameStop and AMC Entertainment.
Plotkin is a former protégé of New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who helped bail out Melvin Capital in 2021.
Selling Jordan would pay off handsomely for him, as the franchise is likely worth more than $1.5 billion from just three years ago. That’s thanks to the impending new television deal, for which the league is seeking $70-75 billion. The Phoenix Suns were sold for $4 billion earlier this year, the Utah Jazz were sold for $1.6 billion in 2020, and the $1.5 billion sale of the Timberwolves will close later this year.
It would also leave the league without a single African-American owner in a league that is predominantly black, but Jordan reportedly plans to remain a minority owner in Charlotte. Finally, when he got the chance to quintuple his investment, Jordan decided to just do it.